Medical Corps, Antietam Battlefield, Albumen Photograph
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
DOCTORS JONATHAN LETTERMAN & ALBERT MYER,
AND GENERALS JOHN BUFORD & JOHN GIBBON
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Offering a Civil War Medical Photograph, showing some medical staff from the Antietam Battlefield.
Photograph shows, from left: H. F. Clark, A.V. Colburn, J. Buford, J. Letterman, A. V. Coleman, Albert James Myer, [unidentified], John Gibbon, and J.C. Duane – each seated or reclining under a tree in front of open tents.
Dr. Jonathan Letterman (1824-1872) was known as the “Father of Modern Battlefield Medicine” and was named medical director of the Union army in June 1862 and began the Ambulance Corps.
John Buford (1826-1863) was a cavalry officer in the Union army. He distinguished himself at 2nd Bull Run and saw action at Antietam, just before this image was taken. He is best known for holding the ground on the first day of the Gettysburg battle. He received a rank of Major General just before his death, perhaps of typhoid.
John Gibbon (1827-1896) was a career army officer who fought on the Union side during the Civil War and served on the Western frontier in both the Sioux and Nez Perce Wars.
Dr. Albert James Myer (1828-1880) was a surgeon in the Union army and became known as the “Father of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.” He invented the “wig-wag” signaling system. He’s also the “Father of the U.S. Weather Bureau.”
A young Black man sits on a chair holding a kepi, the top of which bears an insignia of crossed flags – the signal corps – so is probably Myer’s paid servant.
Major Henry Francis Clarke was chief Commissary of Subsistence for McClellan.
Captain James Chatham Duanea was chief Engineer of the A.P.
Lt. Col. Albert V. Colburn was an Assistant Adjutant-General on McClellan’s staff.
This photograph was advertised in Gardner’s catalog of 1863 but rarely comes on the market.
(Medical) Gardner, Alexander. Albumen Photograph. Group at Headquarters, Army of Potomac, October 3 or 4, 1862. M. B. Brady, Publisher 8-7/8” x 7” albumen photo; 12″ x 10″ on original printed mount. Very good.